The Democratic race for governor is still in its infancy, and already we have its first surprise.
On her campaign Facebook page early this week, DeKalb County District Sherry Boston endorsed state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna over Stacey Abrams of Atlanta – the House Democratic leader.
Boston elaborated in a statement released by the Evans campaign last night:
“Stacey Evans is my friend, and I am proud to support her to be our next governor. DeKalb is looking for a new day. We’re looking for someone that understands what keeps us up at night worrying. In my work as a judge, solicitor-general and now as DeKalb district attorney, I hear it day in and day out.”
Boston may be the most influential woman in the most Democratic county in Georgia, so this early endorsement matters. Boston seems to acknowledge the shock waves it’s likely to send, characterizing her choice – at least in part -- as a personal one:
“My endorsement is not against any other Democrat. In fact, our party is stronger when we have competition. My endorsement is a statement of support for my friend, a distinguished legislator and candidate in whose vision I believe will benefit DeKalb County and all of Georgia.”
The question posed to Republican Karen Handel was whether the Sixth District race was getting too intense, with trackers, non-stop TV ads and huge media attention. Her answer came as her staffers played a dizzying game of cat-and-mouse with a particularly persistent tracker trying to capture her answer.
“You know, I’m holding out fine. What I most hate are trackers that – literally - border on stalking. And Georgia has some pretty tough stalker laws, I might add. And I don’t appreciate them being outside my house, and all of that,” she said. “But, you know, it is what it is.”
Given her mention of Georgia statutes against stalking, we asked whether she was considering any legal action.
“No, Greg, stop overreacting,” she said. “Oh, come on Greg.”
Both campaigns have been trailed by at least one – and sometimes several – trackers who aim to record their every move and exploit any miscues they may have. And when campaigns try to deter the trackers, it can make for an amusing sideshow.
One of our favorites: This chess match between trackers and blockers in the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.
Because we know how to have fun, we spent a little extra time picking through Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff’s campaign finance reports so you don’t have to.
A few interesting donors on both sides: Ossoff over the last two months continued to be the favored candidate of Hollywood. His campaign accepted donations from Kevin Bacon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Cryer and Bradley Whitford, his filings show.
Handel didn’t receive much love from the artsy types, but she did pick up a lot more of her money from executives and other business folk. We did find $1,000 from the political action committee of U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the now-sidelined chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who’s under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for potentially disclosing unauthorized classified information.
Handel’s campaign also accepted money from U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and state Sen. Jeff Mullis, who also face an ethics complaint of their own. Carter has dismissed the complaint as a “partisan political stunt.”
The Virginia race for governor, which concluded Tuesday, may have a pair of lessons for Georgia. From the Associated Press:
Ralph Northam has won the Democratic nomination in Virginia's closely watched race for governor, defeating an insurgent challenger backed by U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Northam beat former congressman Tom Perriello, with most polls reporting Tuesday.
The lieutenant governor secured victory thanks in part to his longer time on the campaign trail and fundraising advantage. Northam had the support of the state Democratic Party's core constituencies, including teachers groups and African-American political and religious leaders. Northam had particularly strong support from some abortion rights and gun control groups, advocates from two areas where Perriello had baggage from past votes in Congress.
And on the GOP side:
Republican Ed Gillespie has narrowly won his party's nomination in Virginia's race for governor, eking out a victory against an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
Gillespie is a former Republican National Committee Chairman who had a huge fundraising advantage and enjoyed the solid backing of most state elected Republicans, but largely kept Trump at arm's length during the campaign.
On Tuesday, he barely defeated Corey Stewart, a former Trump state campaign chairman who made preserving Virginia's Confederate history a top campaign issue.
The close results shocked many political watchers and shows Trump's enduring appeal among Republican voters in Virginia.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has invited Donald Trump to visit Georgia and hear about the GA CATT apprenticeship program as the president explores expanding a similar federal initiative.
"We want to partner with him on this project because there's no better way to raise the standard of living for Georgia families than developing the skills needed in today's global economy," said Cagle, who is running for governor.
Trump visited Wisconsin on Tuesday to highlight his administration's embrace of technical training programs.